A strategy for success
Successful branding doesn’t happen overnight. Achieving lasting success and prominence requires brands to do more than sell a great product or service. A successful brand is the result of a comprehensive brand strategy that goes beyond fleeting trends and catchy slogans. Successful branding is a process that requires countless hours spent uncovering the essence of a business, researching, planning and strategising.
Creating a robust brand strategy is no walk in the park. It takes significant time, effort and resources. However, a well-executed brand strategy can make a name for a business, differentiating it from its competitors and propelling it to success. It has the power to help a brand to forge lasting connections with loyal and engaged customers.
In this article, we will explore the key elements of a brand strategy and the best practices that underpin its success, equipping businesses with the knowledge they need to establish a distinctive and influential presence in today’s marketplace.
What is a brand strategy?
As in all areas of life, setting goals and formulating a plan are crucial steps in achieving success.
Your brand strategy helps your business to lay down its objectives and then create guidelines and actionable steps to help it to achieve them whilst remaining aligned with its overall brand mission, vision statements and brand values.
Without a well-defined brand strategy, you risk your branding efforts lacking purpose and direction. Your brand strategy is the canvas where you paint a picture of what makes your business unique, its essence, how it aspires to make people feel, and its objectives.
Your brand strategy should be used to help transform your business’s branding from an abstract concept into a concrete and actionable plan.
Why is it important for businesses to have a brand strategy?
The definition of ‘strategy’ is – a plan or action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.
A brand strategy is a meticulously crafted plan of action to help your business achieve its long-term goals and aspirations.
Without successful branding, your business is just another voice in the crowd clamouring for attention. Your brand strategy becomes the beacon that sets your business apart from the competition. Through strategic branding, your business can tell its story and express its unique identity to differentiate it from its competitors and make it memorable.
A brand strategy provides the necessary framework to guide all business decisions. It ensures clarity and alignment among employees, fostering a shared understanding of the brand’s essence and purpose. From management to frontline employees, a unified understanding of the brand strategy empowers everyone to contribute to its success.
What are the key elements of a brand strategy?
Ok, now you understand the value of having a brand strategy and are eager to put pen to paper and start creating one for your business. But wait, where should you start?
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when faced with the many terms and concepts surrounding brand strategy. The distinctions between branding, brand identity, brand voice, and more may initially seem unclear. And where does your logo fit into it all?
Let’s define some of these terms to demystify the key elements of a brand strategy.
Branding – Branding refers to the process of shaping and creating your business’s brand. It encompasses all the strategies and activities used to create a distinct identity for your business.
Brand identity – Your brand identity is the personality you build for your brand using visual and verbal elements. It encapsulates the essence of your brand, making it memorable and recognisable.
Brand positioning – Your brand positioning tells your audience what value your business brings to the market.
Brand mission statement – Your brand mission articulates the purpose and fundamental reason for your brand’s existence. It serves as a guiding principle for your brand’s actions and decisions.
Brand vision statement – Your brand vision statement outlines your brand’s future aspirations and goals. It reflects your brand’s long-term vision, the impact it strives to achieve, and the desired position it aims to attain.
Brand values – A business’s brand values are the core principles and beliefs that it stands for and believes in. Brand values act as a moral compass and help to define a brand’s ethical and social responsibility.
Brand voice – Your brand voice is the distinct manner in which your brand communicates. It encompasses the language, tone, and style of your brand’s messaging and interactions. A well-defined brand voice should convey your brand’s personality and values.
Visual branding – Visual branding encompasses all of a brand’s visual elements, including logo, colour palette, imagery, typography, and other visual assets. Visual branding plays a crucial role in establishing brand recognition.
As you develop your brand strategy, these key elements will serve as the building blocks that give your brand a strong foundation and a compelling presence in the market.
Examples of businesses with successful brand strategies
Some brands have captured our hearts and minds through their impeccable implementation of successful brand strategies. A couple of successful brand strategy examples that spring to mind are Dove and Ikea.
Personal care brand Dove has achieved remarkable success thanks to its highly effective brand strategy that resonates with its audience and communicates its unique brand values. With a strong focus on inclusivity and inner beauty, Dove has established itself as a household name.
Key elements of Dove’s brand strategy include:
Brand values: Dove embodies the values of self-love, empowerment, and beauty, which sets it apart from other personal care brands.
Brand mission: Dove’s mission is to build positive self-esteem and inspire women and young girls to reach their full potential.
Emotive campaigns – Dove has launched powerful campaigns like its self-esteem project and real beauty campaign, which align with its values and mission, capturing the attention and hearts of its target audience.
Through clear communication of its brand values and a genuine commitment to empowering individuals, Dove has successfully built brand awareness and fostered a deep connection with its customers.
Ikea, a popular Swedish home furnishings brand, has garnered a massive following and global recognition by implementing a strong brand strategy that embodies simplicity, affordability, and sustainability.
Key elements of Ikea’s brand strategy include:
Brand values: Ikeas’s core values encompass caring for people and the planet, cost-consciousness, simplicity, and continuous improvement.
Brand mission: Ikea’s mission is ‘to create a better everyday life for the many people’, reflecting their commitment to enhancing quality of life through accessible and well-designed home furnishings.
Cohesive brand identity: Ikea’s visuals, voice, and overall identity consistently align with its brand values, reinforcing its unique positioning in the market.
Ikea has built a reputation for providing affordable and sustainable home furnishings that resonate with a wide range of customers. The brand’s commitment to simplicity, value for money, and environmental responsibility has propelled its success and loyal customer base.
Brand strategy best practices
Creating a powerful brand strategy is an art in itself. It requires thorough research, careful consideration, and adherence to branding tips and best practices.
Understand your target audience – If your branding doesn’t resonate with your target audience, it will flop, big time. Before you even start penning your brand strategy, you need to get to know your target audience well. Learn more about their demographics, likes and dislikes, needs and behaviours. Then and only then can you create a brand identity that resonates with them, captivates their attention, pulls them in, and sticks in their minds.
Perform competitor research – Conducting thorough competitor research can help identify market gaps and discover what sets your brand apart. You can then embrace your brand’s uniqueness and leverage it to find your niche. Don’t be afraid to innovate, do things differently, and stand out.
Identify your unique selling proposition – Once you’ve found what makes your business unique, nurture it, develop it, and shout about it from the rooftops. Incorporate these differentiating factors into your brand identity to establish a strong and memorable brand presence.
Tell a story – Humans are inherently drawn to stories. Incorporate brand storytelling into your brand strategy to engage your audience and forge emotional connections. Whether through funny anecdotes, unusual narratives, or heartfelt tales, compelling brand storytelling can make your brand more memorable, relatable, and meaningful to your audience.
Be consistent – Consistency is key to building a strong and recognisable brand. Ensure your brand is expressed consistently across all touchpoints, whether in-person, on your website, or through social media. Integrate your brand identity into your company culture and provide training to all employees. Living and breathing your brand fosters brand awareness, recognition, and customer loyalty.
Create a brand voice and style guide – Develop a brand voice and style guide that can be used as a framework for creating marketing materials. These guides should then be distributed to everyone involved in creating content for your business, from content writers to designers and photographers. A style guide helps to ensure consistency and encourages a collaborative approach to building a distinctive brand identity.
Embrace content marketing – Content marketing is vital to your brand strategy. Provide your content writers with a copy of your brand voice and style guide, empowering them to create content that reinforces your brand values, mission, and vision. Content marketing lets you showcase your brand’s voice, personality, and expertise to engage customers, build trust, and add value.
Incorporating these branding tips and best practices into your brand strategy will help you to create a compelling and impactful brand that stands out from its competitors and resonates with your target audience.
Measuring the effectiveness of your brand strategy
While maintaining consistency in your brand identity is important, it is equally important to recognise that a brand strategy should not remain rigid and unchanging. To remain competitive in a dynamic market, it is important to continually assess the effectiveness of your brand strategy and adapt as needed. Evolution and continual brand development are key to long-term success. Times move along and change, and so should your brand.
To gauge the performance of your brand strategy and make informed decisions, you should leverage analytics platforms and tools like Google Analytics and social media analytics.
To measure the effectiveness, track metrics that align with your business goals; these may include:
- Search traffic
- Website visitors
- New leads
- Conversion rates
- Email signups
By regularly evaluating these metrics, you can identify patterns, strengths, and areas for improvement. Adopt a mindset of continual brand development and recognise that adaptation and refinement of your brand strategy are essential to survival in a constantly evolving marketplace.
Collaborate with Create8 to build a transformative brand strategy
Creating a brand strategy can be a complex and time-consuming task. If you’re seeking expert guidance and support, our team of branding consultants here at Create8 can help. We are a trusted branding agency with a proven track record of helping businesses build successful brand strategies.
Whether starting from scratch or looking to revamp your existing strategy, our team is equipped to guide you through the entire process. From brand strategy and brand guidelines development to brand voice and brand values, we have experts who can help you navigate every step in the process.